Adrenal Fatigue and its impact on your fertility

I was getting ready to go away for the weekend, bag was packed, house clean and everything organised at home for when I was away including meal plans, shopping done etc and I suddenly realised…something was wrong.

My heart was racing, and I felt a mild panic attack feeling.

It’s hard to describe but it’s the feeling of barely coping. And maybe if I was honest not really coping at all.

The last three months looking after a toddler full time, moving interstate, building a business and brand, meeting deadlines, catching up with friends, and trying to fit in some exercise– life is busy. I used to love busy and I used to love the adrenaline of organising large scale corporate events in my previous career. The more adrenaline the more I got a sense of invigoration - a high maybe. Strange but very true.

Yet recently I’ve noticed…

My skin is looking thin and lost it’s plumpness.

My belly has gotten soft.

My head feels all over the place.

My body doesn’t want to stop even though I haven’t been giving it enough sleep. I have never been a night-owl and suddenly I was regularly staying up to midnight to get stuff done.

I knew what was happening but kept telling myself that I don’t have a corporate stressful career anymore so you can’t be stressed out or burned out. And here I am feeling the burnout again. Adrenal fatigue was back. I learned a lot the first time around on how to heal my body from it so here’s what I want to share of my experience and how I managed my way through it. I want to add that I had adrenal fatigue right at the point when we were trying to conceive. And I know that it was the real reason why I was infertile.

But firstly what is adrenal fatigue? Adrenal fatigue is what happens when your body has been in the fight-or-flight for too long. If you’re busy and you’re driven and you’re pushing, rushing and you’re burning the candle at both ends you know what I'm talking about. It’s that feeling of being edgy and anxious but also you feel really proud that you smashed out your to do list. And oddly, you get to the end of the day and you’re wired not tired. lists these 5 signs as the most common indicators of adrenal fatigue:

  1. You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.

  2. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.

  3. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.

  4. You crave salty and sweet snacks.

  5. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.

The first time I realised I had adrenal fatigue I had been given Dr Libby’s book ‘Rushing Women’s Syndrome’ and I learned how my body was constantly in the flight or fight state. When you’re in that state, to get you through, your body boosts the adrenaline. You get energy to survive, and the adrenals wait for the next time you need them.

The real problem of course if you’re using your adrenals too often, they start getting tired. And once tired, they start firing at random. The feeling of pressure of urgency fires your adrenals even though you’re not in any immediate danger which is why we need adrenaline. Our fight-or-flight system is the primitive system in the body that was designed to be activated when we are in imminent danger.  It activates in response to stress, but stress in those days usually involved big danger, like a famine, flood, being eaten by a tiger. In response to that imminent danger, the body produces cortisol and adrenaline in really high amounts which are stress hormones and their role is to mobilise your arms and legs to run or fight as fast as you can. It also sends blood and nutrients and energy to the brain so that you can think faster and make life saving decisions. Your body doesn’t know the difference between emotional stress and physical danger and it ends up diverting energy and nutrients away from non-essential, non-life saving functions and fertility is one of those things that is not prioritised. And when it comes to your fertility I don’t need to tell you why this is important. A little embryo will not implant in your body if it feels like it’s constantly in danger or at threat.

If you think you may be adrenal fatigued, try swapping your morning coffee for a healing green smoothie. My greatest belief is that the body knows innately how to heal itself and it does that by taking on nutrients from real food.

Eating right begins with boosting your blood alkalinity with leafy greens and cutting out gluten, sugar, caffeine, and dairy out of your diet (these foods are the most common causes of allergies & disease-promoting internal inflammation). I also believe in our modern world we often need to supplement what we are taking in as much of food chain contains pesticides which is another burden on our liver that helps us with detoxification.

I like to start the day with a smoothie because it’s easy to digest and we can pack a bunch of nutrients in and it’s simple and fast to make when you’re rushing out the door. Here’s the recipe to my Adrenal Fatigue Smoothie that I’ve been making as part of my detox.

Adrenal Fatigue Smoothie

2 scoops Equilibrium Daily Nutritional Shake (I like Dr Cabral’s products because they contain protein, liver detox support and a bunch of other minerals to support your body’s metabolism and energy).

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen organic berries (Buy the organic brand as berries are often heavily sprayed)

1 tsp green veggie powder

1 tsp maca powder (assists in balancing the hormones)

2 cups of almond milk (coconut milk or milk you like - avoid dairy if you can)

1 scoop of collagen powder (I’ve recently started adding this as I need that little bit extra protein for my skin)

I throw all the ingredients in the vitamix and whizz it up until its smoothe. Sometimes if I’m looking to decrease my calories I might use water instead of milk which is what I’ve been doing as part of my 7-day detox.

Managing your stress by doing some mindfulness, getting out and doing some gentle exercise like yoga or going for a walk and journalling at the end of the evening are great ways to support your body when you have adrenal fatigue.

Happy healing. x